I am not sure who is more excited about this race report...you lucky readers or me for posting it!
Packet pickup had me and Cubbie driving out to sleepy Tybee Island right after work on Friday. We picked up our race numbers and our 2010 Critz Tybee Run T-shirt. We ran into a couple of our running buddies and everyone exchanged pleasantries and discussed dream race goals...I was very apprehensive to tell people I was shooting for 1:55, but that was my goal.
I checked the weather before I went to bed and the forecast was fair; overcast and in the mid 40's at the time of the race start. I woke up early Saturday morning to a pleasant surprise, the weather forecast was wrong and it was 54 degrees out PERFECT!!! It was still overcast and there was a 20% chance of rain.
We drove out to Tybee and swung by CJ's beach house to pick him up and head to the pier where the race crowd was starting to form...Finally putting a face to the blog it was nice to meet CJ and I immediately engaged in the age old Snail tradition of pregame trash talking.
As we were quietly stretching and milling around a light sprinkle began; nothing was going to deter me, it was race day! I went for a 10 minute jog to loosen up my legs and get a 1/2 warm up in at race pace. The rain let up not long after my warm up was over.
The 5k started at 8am so as we were lining up for the 8:30am start of the 1/2 mary, we were able to see the eventual winner and others pass through the finishing corral. I was able to locate CJ again in the crowd before the start of the race but could not make my way over to where he was located. I made a mental note of his location and planned to keep him in my sights...my southern friends always warn me to "not trust anyone from the north", even if it is North Carolina...
The race started and we were off!
The rush of adrenaline and large crowd of runners carried me off to a much faster pace than I had planned, I was going to try and hit 8:45's for the first five miles and then reassess. Mile marker #1 told me I ran that first mile at 8:17. I told myself to put that time in the bank and pull back a little. I let off the gas and had to remind myself that these people that were passing me would all get passed by me later when they blow up.
Looking ahead I still had CJ in my sights. I was honestly a little surprised to have seen him go out that fast. Never mind, I would not even think of worrying until we were much further in the course. Mile #2 came and went, I held a 8:30 pace for the second mile. Hmmm, I really need to let off the gas or I will blow up at mile 10. Then again, maybe I can hold this 8:30, it is race day after all...
I decided I would just try and keep my HR in the low 160's and see how it played out. At about this time I came up on CJ. He told me he went out too fast and hit the first mile mark at 8:06. We ran side by side for a few minutes and then I surged ahead. We ran past his beach cottage and began the winding section of the course on the north end of the island. I began ticking of miles at a 8:30 pace.
I hit the 5 mile mark at 42:45 on the watch, popped a GU and told myself all I had left was an easy Sunday 8. The course took us out of the neighborhood of the lighthouse and we were about to begin the long, trudging road of crossing to the south end of Tybee. Mentally this is probably the toughest part of the race. You run almost two miles on a straight, slightly uphill road. It is during this part of the race that it began to rain. It was just a light misting to start but the possibility of more was looming. I tucked into a group of runners and glanced at my garmin as I hit 6.55 miles. 56:47. I was on pace for a 1:54.
Not long after passing the 7 mile mark I looked off to the left and saw my Sweet Boo standing along the course cheering wildly, she made the trip down from Atlanta to surprise me and could not have been stationed at a better place on the race course. I really was energized after having seen her. The race course took a turn into the southern point of the island and I knew this was where my race would see the work. quiet neighborhood's and sparse runners, it was all mental at this point. Hold the pace and tick off the miles.
The ten mile mark came at 1:26 into the race and I popped another GU. I thought to myself, "Just a 5k, we are gunning for 1:55. This is going to happen!" Pass 5 people this mile and don't get passed. I passed 8 people during the 10th mile and got passed once. Mile 11, "pass 5 and don't get passed." I slipped in behind two runners and managed to shield myself from the wind for 1/4 mile. I passed my quota plus a couple extra.
I saw the 12 mile marker in the distance and I was spent. My mind wandered to every Yasso I have done over the last 6 weeks. "Two more reps Thomas, you have been here every week for the last month and a half." I dropped the pace and began reeling in runners. I glanced at my watch and saw I had half a mile left. I pushed as hard as I could for the last 4 minutes, grateful for every 800 I had done. I turned the corner into the final straight away and left everything on the road. About 100 from the finish my Sweet Boo was cheering and I drove through the chute leaving it all on the course.
1:55:04 Gun Time
1:54:38 Chip Time
According to the chip, I broke 1:55...I'll take it!!!!
I was able to walk through the chute, grab some water and make my way over to the side of the course to cheer on the finishers as they ran the last 200 yards to the finish. I began looking for Cubbie and CJ. I saw other finishers and cheered as much as possible for them. Out of nowhere I see Cubbie come around the corner with a great look of determination her face. Turns out she shaved 15 minutes off of her PR time from last year. Not far behind her came CJ; he was trucking! I cheered as loudly as possible and he too set a 5 minute PR at Tybee!!!
Winners all around!!
Breakfast at the Breakfast Club brought 6 of us together to rehash our race and talk about running. What a great weekend. Big shout out to CJ for running a great race and making the trip to Tybee to compete in the 1st annual(?) Duel in the Dunes...Who's got next?